Autonomous Car – Hype v/s Reality

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29 Jul 2015
By admin


Driverless cars are evolving at a rapid pace, but they still have plenty of challenges to overcome

We’ve been hearing so much about the autonomous cars lately, to some, they are reality taking place in the near future, to others; it’s a dream that will take ages to come true. People have already started adopting them, but to reach mass level adoption, it still needs to work its way up to top.

Here we are going to have a look at the main challenges the autonomous cars are facing.

Ethical Predicaments

The biggest challenge autonomous cars are facing right now is the ethical aspect. Like, for instance, the cars are programmed to avoid any kind of collisions, especially when it comes to human beings. So the questions now arise, what will the car do if a human ran out in front? Would it diverge into the path of oncoming traffic? Would it threaten the lives of others as well as its own passengers? Would it be making a different decision if it detects an animal jumping in front of it?

Who will be held responsible to program such functions into the cars and should you be given the right to override the default ethical algorithms if you don’t agree with them?

To handle such decisions, will the technology ever become sophisticated enough? Many have their doubts over it and the auto industry is also very well aware of all these issues. This is why the Mercedes-Benz is holding a “Driverless Driving, Law and Ethics” conference for the first time ever in this autumn, and for that, the auto makers have started consulting ethicists and philosophers.

Who’s to blame in case of an accident?

The driverless cars rely on their sensors, cameras all around, radars and the reaction times faster than human beings, but still, they are machines that can have flaws and fail anytime. With everything in place and working fine, they still managed to crash, like the test vehicles in the US.

Now the question is: who will be held liable in case of an accident? You, for owning the car? Or the car manufacturer for manufacturing it? Or will it be the maker of the specific equipment that failed or the software company whose software malfunctioned?

Some say it would the car manufacturer to be held responsible for the drivers will be replaced by passengers, having no control on the system and no way to override the system to avoid the crash.

And to determine who’s responsible for incident, there might be a need of having some sort of data recorder like the black boxes on the aeroplanes, but it still raise privacy issues and the right to claim access.

All these issues will take years of legal wrangling to be sorted out and no wonder, the new regulations and national and international level.

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